Parkinson’s Specialist Nurses in action
Parkinson’s Specialist Nurses are highly trained and experienced nurses based in communities of need. They are dedicated to supporting local people living with Parkinson’s.
These Nurses are funded 50/50 by Parkinson’s NSW and the Local Health District in which they are based. This series of articles invites clients to talk about the value of Nurses to their local Parkinson’s community.
Roslyn and Brian Stone – Supported by Rachael Mackinnon
Roslyn and Brian Stone moved to Port Macquarie 12 years ago after spending many years living in Adelaide.
“We came here to retire and enjoy our life,” said Roslyn. “I was originally from Taree and we had our honeymoon in Port Macquarie. One daughter and her children moved up here as well and the other already lived in the region. Just our son was left in Adelaide.
“I also like to garden, and Adelaide was harder with water restrictions. Moving here worked out really well and we were enjoying life and doing things like going for walks along the beach. Then, eight years ago, Brian was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.”
Roslyn and Brian, now 82, connected with the local Parkinson’s Support Group and worked to fundraise for a Parkinson’s Specialist Nurse for their region.
“It’s been very successful,” says Roslyn of the nurse appointed. “Rachael Mackinnon is just one in a million. I can’t believe we got her!”
Roslyn, who had been Brian’s caregiver until he recently transitioned into full-time care, has found Rachael particularly helpful.
“I always felt guilty that I wasn’t doing enough as a carer,” she recalled. “Rachael explained to me that I could only do what I could do, and it was normal to have the feelings and anxiety I was having.
“I was supporting Brian as much as I could and that support from her was there for me and it was very genuine.”
Ultimately, it was Rachael who helped Roslyn to recognise when it was time for Brian to move into a nursing home.
“He had a fall last Easter and was taken to hospital,” explains Roslyn. “We didn’t want his medication changed in hospital as it would stiffen him up and make it worse. Rachael encouraged me to move him to a private hospital under his doctor to monitor his condition while I had some respite.
“I was able to see that it was time for full-time care and so that he could get the help he needed. Rachael explained how to make the transition and explained the options for what could be done. The choice always came back to me and I could understand what was available and decide what would work.
“She was there for him when he was in hospital, watching the monitors. I could call her at different times of the day to ask her things.
“I just can’t explain it enough, how phenomenal she is. Her knowledge is amazing. She’s just amazing.”